Rainbow Macarons (Vanilla Bean Macarons with Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream)


 
Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons
Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons
Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons
Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons
Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons

Happy Saturday and Happy Pride! We are celebrating with these Rainbow French Macarons - basically our ultimate go to, a vanilla bean french macaron shell with a vanilla bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream. This year is 50 years since the riots at Stonewall Inn - i’ve found myself in many a rabbit hole reading about how rights have changed throughout the world. While there’s still so far to go, especially with some people’s views (we see you), on the whole the world has come a long way. I am so proud to have so many of my good friends a part of the LGBTQ community, and will forever be an ally - I’m here, standing in all the corners, standing up for all of the rights! Jase has written some more words here which I think sums it up so well! He and his husband are doing some amazing work bringing important issues through their work in #whyIdidntreport it and Pride Train - I’m so proud to be able to call so many amazing humans my good friends.

We certainly weren’t going to let pride go past without a rainbow macaron happening! We riffed on our fave - the basic macaron shell with a vanilla bean Swiss meringue buttercream. We divided the buttercream into seven - keeping some white for the middles, and then colouring the rest the colours of the rainbow, and piping them into the shells. I love how they turned out - such a fun and colourful riff on a classic!

A few wee tips:

  • All my macaron tips are here!

  • Because Swiss meringue buttercream has so much fat in it from the butter, it can be hard to get the colour to really take. To combat this we coloured the buttercream, then left it to sit overnight, which helped lots to brighten up the colour. My friend Chelsea says if you whip the shit out of it in your mixer after you add the colour that works well too - but I haven’t tried that out yet!

  • It’s hot here and pretty humid, which may affect drying time for your macs - just keep an eye on them!

  • Be careful when you are choosing sprinkles to use - if they are solid sugar or chocolate balls, they may get hot and melt through the shells. Go for small balls and baubles in your sprinkles mix if you can!

 

 

Rainbow Macarons

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Sprinkles to finish (we used white non pareils)

Vanilla Bean Swiss Meringue Buttercream
1/2 cup (123g) egg whites, or 4 large egg whites
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
455g (16oz, or four sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Gel Food Colour as desired
 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly.  Sprinkle the shells with sprinkles of your choice.

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. 

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

 

VANILLA BEAN SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Place the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a heat proof bowl. Place over a pot of simmering water, ensuring that the water does not touch the bowl. Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture registers 160˚f / 70˚c on a thermometer and the sugar has dissolved. Carefully transfer the bowl to the mixer, and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip the egg whites on high until they are snowy white and fluffy, 8-10 minutes. Add the butter one chunk at a time. The mixture may look curdled - but just keep mixing! Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high for a further 10 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Once the buttercream has finished mixing, and is smooth and silky, add in the vanilla bean paste. Mix for a further 2-3 minutes, then switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for one minute to remove any air.

Divide the buttercream into seven, and colour six of the portions with your desired gel food colour. Transfer to piping bags fitted with various small french star and round piping tips.

ASSEMBLY

Pair up each macaron shell with another of an equal size. Pipe a round of white buttercream on one half of the shell, then place the second shell carefully on top. Using the coloured buttercream, pipe blobs of buttercream around the edge of the macarons, so the blobs face outward (as opposed to these where we piped the blobs directly onto the shells and then topped with a second shell). Repeat with the rest of the macarons. Macarons are best chilled overnight to allow the flavours to meld, but can also be eaten immediately. 

Rainbow macarons for pride - vanilla bean French macaron shells are filled with a vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, which is tinted the colours of the rainbow and piped around the shell. These are the perfect rainbow macaron for any occasion! #pride #Frenchmacarons #glutenfree #rainbowmacarons

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons (Strawberry Macarons with Cream Cheese German Buttercream and Streusel)


 
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron
Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron

Summer is definitely here, and with that comes strawberry season! For this month’s Mac recipe, Jase and I channeled an American summer classic (I think, non-American making sweeping generalisations here but from what I’ve seen I think that’s right), and made strawberry shortcake inspired macarons! As per usual, we kept the shell plain - we have learnt the hard way a few times (looking at you, blueberry shells) that unless you’re adding something like a tiny bit of cocoa to the shell, you’re best off sticking with a plain flavoured shell, and incorporating all your flavour on the inside. Macarons are already finicky enough as it is without having to worry about tweaking the recipe of the shell each time.

We then added the Strawberry shortcake element on the inside, with a super easy strawberry filling, a pie crumb, and a cream cheese German buttercream, which is a total fave of mine. The strawberry provided amazing flavour, and coupled with the creamy and slightly tangy buttercream and crunchy brown butter pie crumb, it made for, in my opinion, the perfect bite.

We did get a wee bit fancy with the styling and mixed it up a bit, making a few different colours, but these would be great done just in one colour too. I have added how we split up the mixture to colour it in the notes. We also did something a bit different this time and added all the leftovers into a churned ice cream base to make the most delicious strawberry shortcake macaron ice cream - stay tuned for the recipe!

A few wee tips:

  • All my mac tips are in this post!

  • We actually made two batches of macs for these - the first batch we did half solid pink, and the second half we painted the inside of the piping bag with a little gel food colouring so that it came out swirly. The second batch we coloured half a soft pink and left half white, and added sprinkles - I got these ones from etsy and I love them.

  • We also coloured some of the buttercream - you can really do anything you want here!

  • Make sure that you give the strawberry filling time to chill. It will be quite thick - we wanted it to be a little thicker so that it stayed inside the macs nicely.

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons (Strawberry Macarons with Cream Cheese German Buttercream and Streusel)

- Makes about 24 Macarons -

Macaron Shell Recipe from I love Macarons, with adaptations from Fox and Crane 
Pie crumb recipe from 
Milk Bar

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Gel Food Colouring, optional (We used ‘soft pink’ by americolor)

Pie Crumb
220g all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
115g unsalted butter, browned
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp water

Strawberry Filling
400g trimmed and quartered strawberries
120g water
125g sugar
Juice of half a lemon
3 Tbsp corn starch

Cream Cheese German Buttercream
110g sugar
12g corn starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
190g whole milk
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g cream cheese, at room temperature

 

- PROCESS -

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300°f / 150°c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add pink gel food colour a few drops at a time, until the desired colour is reached. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. Sprinkle with sprinkles, if using.

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

PIE CRUMB

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a baking tray with silpat or parchment paper. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar and salt until well mixed. Add the butter and water and mix on low until clustered. 

Spread the mixture on the tray, and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Break up into smaller clumps during the baking process. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (it will firm up a lot during cooling). Store in an airtight container until ready to use

STRAWBERRY FILLING

Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, mashing with a potato masher as the mixture begins to warm.

Switch to a rubber spatula and cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until it has thickened. Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely.

CREAM CHEESE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then add the egg, egg yolk and salt, and whisk together well. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean paste to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up this process by placing the custard mixture into a bowl, and placing the bowl into an ice bath, stirring frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the custard mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. Add in the cream cheese, and whip until smooth, then whip for a further 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low for 3-4 minutes to help remove any big air bubbles.

ASSEMBLY

Place the buttercream into piping bag fitted with a tip of your choice - we used a large round tip for the macarons with the pie crumb and a large french star tip for the macs with the sprinkles.

Pair up the macarons into pairs of equal sizes.

Pipe a ring of buttercream on one half of the macaron, and place a blob of the strawberry filling into the centre. Top with the second shell, pressing down lightly. Add the pie crumb to the sides if desired.

Chill the macarons briefly to allow the buttercream to set. Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Strawberry shortcake macarons - French Macaron shells are filled with a strawberry filling, cream cheese german buttercream, and finished with a brown butter pie crumb crunch. These encompass summer in every bite. #strawberryshortcake #piecrumb #strawberrymacaron

Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva


 
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons
Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons

Jase and I have made a heck of a lot of macarons, but somehow we have managed to get to this point without any ‘variations on a theme’, and i’m not quite sure why we haven’t done it earlier! These two mac recipes were the result of a super fun baking day with our friends Jill and Rachel - Rachel owns the amazing Seed and Mill in Chelsea Market here in NYC, so we wanted to see if we could tie in some tahini and halva into the flavours, and I think we definitely achieved that with this little sesame situation that we are sharing with you today!

I made a salted caramel milk chocolate ganache a while back and used it to fill doughnuts, and have been thinking about how I can incorporate it into a mac filling. The great thing about a ganache is that it is cream based, so you can very easily add in anything to the cream which will flavour it - tea, miso, etc etc. I stirred a solid amount of tahini into the cream before proceeding with the rest of the ganache, and it added the most incredible depth of flavour. Tahini and chocolate is such an amazing combination, and paired perfectly with a lightly chocolate flavoured mac shell. We finished them off with a sesame brittle Jase happened to have in his pantry, which was the best co-incidence but also the perfect pairing, as the sesame seeds provided an amazing crunchy texture which stood up perfectly against the silky ganache.

The second mac we dusted with cocoa powder before baking, and filled with one of my fave things ever - coffee German buttercream, which we amped up a little with a piece of coffee halva inside each macaron. I could go on and on about how much I love Coffee German buttercream, but I won’t - just make it. It is SO GOOD, and so delicious against the chewy mac shell.

I think you’ll be seeing a bunch more of these variation on a theme posts from now - they are super fun to come up with, and extra fun to shoot! Of course you don’t have to make both flavours, but we all love options!

A few wee tips:

  • All my best mac tips are here!

  • The Sesame brittle on the chocolate macs is totally optional but a lovely crunchy element - we added it to only some to give some visual variation and I loved how it looked!

  • If you wanted to just do a regular salted caramel milk chocolate ganache in the macs, use this recipe - I would drop the cream to 500g

  • The ganache definitely needs some time to set up - overnight is best, and if you can, make the brittle and the pastry cream for the coffee buttercream the day before too.

  • The Chocolate tahini ganache ideally needs to be kept in the fridge, so store your finished macs in the fridge until ready to eat, then let sit at room temp to warm up slightly!

 

 

Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle

- Makes about 24 Macarons-

Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache
270g milk chocolate, chopped
500g heavy cream
250g Tahini
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
3/4 tsp salt
35g water
240g sugar
30g light corn syrup or glucose
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Sesame Brittle
60g (3 Tbsp) honey
15g (1 Tbsp) water
65g (1/2 cup) black sesame seeds
65g (1/2 cup) white sesame seeds

Chocolate Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
270g powdered sugar
20g cocoa powder
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g white sugar

 

- PROCESS -

SALTED CARAMEL TAHINI MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl.

In a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the cream, tahini, vanilla bean paste and salt, and place over low heat. You just want to warm it - not let it boil. It will seem as if the mixture is very thick to begin with from the tahini but it will loosen up a little as it warms. Stir frequently and keep warm, but not boiling.

In a medium heavy bottomed pan, combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Place over medium heat. Cook, stirring or swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber colour. Remove from the heat and add a third of the warmed cream mixture. Be careful as it will steam and sputter. Whisk well to combine. Add the second third, combine, then add the remaining cream, and whisk until well incorporated.

Pour a third of the caramel cream mixture over the chopped chocolate, then cover the bowl with a lid or plate and leave to stand for 2 minutes. Mix with a stick blender to emulsify the mixture. Add the remaining caramel mixture in two additions, mixing well with the stick blender to ensure even incorporation.

Cool the mixture to 95°f / 35°c (you can either leave it at room temperature, stirring occasionally, which will take some time, or you can pop it into the fridge, stirring and checking the temperature often), then add in the butter and mix with the stick blender to emulsify. Transfer to an airtight container and leave to set overnight in the fridge.

 

SESAME BRITTLE

Preheat the oven to 325°f / 160°c. Line a sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan, and gently heat until combined. Add the sesame seeds and stir until incorporated, then spread the mixture thinly onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the sesame seeds are golden and fragrant, checking frequently.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool - it will harden as it cools. Break into chunks. Store in an airtight container until needed.

CHOCOLATE MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Sift together the ground almonds, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Sift again to ensure there are no large clumps.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. 

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth. 

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for 18-22  minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 

ASSEMBLY

Place the salted caramel tahini ganache in a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Crumble some of the brittle into a bowl.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a blob of ganache on one half of each pair. Top with the second shell, pressing down to secure. Sprinkle with the sesame brittle.

Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva

- Makes about 24 Macarons-

Coffee German Buttercream
190g whole milk
20g (about 2.5 Tbsp) coarsely ground coffee
110g sugar
12g (1 1/2 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg
1 egg yolk
½  tsp kosher salt
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Macaron Shells
170g ground almonds
300g powdered sugar
180g egg whites, at room temperature
160g sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Cocoa for dusting (optional)

Crumbled Halva for assembly (We used Coffee Halva from Seed and Mill)

 

- PROCESS -

COFFEE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk to just shy of a simmer.  Remove from the heat, add the coffee, stir well, and steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a very fine mesh sieve, and re-weigh the infused milk and top up to 190. Wipe out the saucepan, and return to the milk mixture to the heat. Bring to just shy of a simmer. Meanwhile, In a bowl, whisk together the corn starch and sugar, then whisk in the vanilla, egg, egg yolk and salt.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan.

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow container or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold - at least four hours, preferably overnight. If you need to speed this process up, you can place the pastry cream in a bowl, then place the bowl in an ice bath. Stir frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment, and place the pastry cream in the bowl. Whip the mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. It may look curdled at some point but just keep whipping - it will come together! Whip for a further 2 minutes.

 

MACARON SHELLS

Preheat oven to 300˚f / 150˚c, and position the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Using a round cookie cutter or the base of a large piping tip (something about 1.5 inches in diameter), draw a "template" for your macarons on a piece of parchment paper, leaving about 3/4" between each circle. 

Combine the almond meal and powdered sugar together in a large bowl. Sift the mixture twice, to ensure there are no large lumps and that the mixture is properly aerated. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar, increase the mixer speed, and whip on high until the meringue starts to firm up. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Continue to whip until the meringue forms stiff peaks (there is a good example here). 

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Add half of the ground almond and powdered sugar mixture, and fold into the meringue. You want to deflate the meringue just a little at this stage, to combine the meringue and ground almond mixture. 

Add the remaining ground almond mixture, and stir lightly to combine. Now comes the important part - mixing the batter to the correct consistency. Again, this video does a good job of explaining it. Fold the mixture in a series of 'turns', deflating the batter by spreading it against the side of the bowl. Turn the bowl slightly and repeat the movement - scooping the batter from the bottom of the bowl, and spreading it against the side. Continuously check the consistency of the batter - you want it to flow like lava when you lift the spatula from the bowl, and you should be able to 'draw' a figure 8 with it, without the batter breaking (again, watch lots of videos to get an idea! They help so much). This step can take some practice until you know what it should feel and look like. If in doubt you are better to under mix them than over mix them - the process of putting the batter into the bag and piping out will help mix a little too.

Fit a large pastry bag with a medium sized round tip, such as an ateco #805. Place the macaron template on a sheet pan, and place a second piece of parchment over it. Holding the piping bag at a 90˚ angle to the surface, pipe out the batter into blobs the size of the circles drawn on the template. Finish off each piped circle with a little "flick" of your wrist to minimise the batter forming a point (it will still form a small one, but we can get rid of this with banging). Remove the template from under the macarons.

Hold the baking sheet in two hands, and carefully but firmly, evenly bang it against the bench. Repeat this a few more times - this will get rid of any air bubbles, remove points on the top, and help them to spread out slightly. Dust the tops of the shells with cocoa powder.

Repeat the piping and banging process until you have used up all of the batter - I usually make three sheet pans worth.

Allow the macarons to dry at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes, or until they form a skin that you can touch without your finger sticking to them. This time will drastically vary depending on the humidity. 

About fifteen minutes before you are going to bake the macarons, place a spare sheet pan in the oven to preheat - this is going to be used to place under the pan with the macarons on it, to double up, which should help with even baking. Bake the macarons one sheet at a time - place the sheet with the macarons on the preheated sheet, and place in the oven. 

Bake for approximately 18 minutes, rotating the pan once during the cooking process, and checking for doneness after 15 minutes. The macarons should develop a foot (the ruffled part on the bottom of the macaron), and bake without browning. To see if they are done - press down lightly on a shell. If the foot gives way, it needs a little longer, if it is stable, then it is close to being done. Test a macaron shell - if you can peel it away cleanly from the paper, they are done. If they are stable but cannot yet peel away cleanly, give them another minute or so. Again, this part takes a little trial and error depending on your oven. If they seem done but do not peel away cleanly, do not worry - there is a little trick for that! 

Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on the sheet pan for 10 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the baking with the remaining trays, using the same spare sheet pan to double up.

If your macs do not peel away cleanly, place them, on the parchment paper, into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, then peel away from the paper. 

Store cooled macarons in an airtight container until ready to use. 


ASSEMBLY

Place the coffee German Buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a french star tip such as an ateco #866. Crumble up the Halva.

Pair up the macaron shells, and pipe a round of buttercream on one half of each pair. Place some crumbled halva in the middle of the ring of buttercream. Top with the second shell, pressing down to secure.

Macarons taste best if you 'mature' them in the fridge overnight to let the flavours meld, but they are perfect eaten immediately too! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sesame Macarons Two Ways - Chocolate Macarons with Salted Caramel Tahini Milk Chocolate Ganache and Sesame Brittle, and Vanilla Bean Macarons with Coffee German Buttercream and Halva. These two 'variations on a theme' show off the amazing versatility of tahini - a silky tahini chocolate ganache, and a halva stuffed macaron. #frenchmacarons #glutenfree #macarons